In the world of video game journalism, a site like ours doesn’t quite yet have the budget to pick up an expensive DSLR camera. Furthermore, web quality doesn’t really need a camera of that price point to look good. So, we take it the other way – we say, why not use our iPhones for capturing video and images? We already have them with us 24/7 and at a convention they are light to wield. The biggest issues with the iPhone’s camera is its low light performance and lens system. Additionally, holding an iPhone for long periods of time for, say, recording a red carpet interview, can strain one’s hands. As a solution to all of these problems, a company called Phocus has released the Phocus 3 Lens Bundle for iPhone 5. With E3 2013 looming on the horizon, we wanted to check this new iPhone 5 lens solution out.
The Phocus 3 Lens Bundle consists of a camera-like body called the Phocus Accent which the iPhone 5 slides into, and three lenses which can screw into the unit. The iPhone 5 uses these enhanced and specialized lenses in addition to its own, expanding greatly on the smartphone’s ability to record video and snap photographs. The Phocus Accent “camera body” is made of a hard plastic, unlike some other lens bodies for the iPhone which are made of aluminum. While this hard plastic is, obviously, not as strong as aircraft-grade aluminum, it is still very well-built and sturdy and I felt no trepidation trusting it to keep my iPhone 5 safe. Additionally, using hard plastic cuts down on the cost of making the Phocus Accent, and the company is passing that savings onto the consumer. The Phocus Accent features a nifty, camera body-like handhold which makes using the iPhone 5 for photography a lot more comfortable, and it even has three screw mounts for pistol grips, lighting rigs, stabilizers, tripods – you name it. The Phocus Accent even has a shoe mount. Its versatility is quite commendable, and allows even the most budget journalist a lot of options in how they are going to trick out their camera.
Here are some images taken with the various lenses found in the bundle:
Here is a small video clip comparing the stock iPhone 5 lens with the wide angle lens found in the Phocus 3 lens bundle:
[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Pros
- Excellent quality for dollar value
- Good lens quality
- Adds a lot of versatility to the photo and video capabilities of the iPhone 5
- Easy slide in/slide out system for attaching phone
[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]Cons
- Heavy lights or microphones on the plastic hot shoe mount feel a bit flimsy
- Plastic body not as heavy duty as aluminum models
In terms of lens quality, I found the wide angle lens to have some slight distortion, although that is decreased a lot when shooting videos. Depending on how you compose your shot, this can, of course, be minimized. I would suggest practicing a lot with it. The telephoto lens is excellent and its farther focal length provides a 2x zoom and even includes threading for a 49mm filter. The macro lens is hidden within the wide angle lens (the outer lens unscrews to reveal it underneath). As seen in the coffee cup photos above, I was able to get very clear images at about two inches away.
Overall, the Phocus 3 Lens Bundle for iPhone 5 is an exceptional tool for photographers and videographers to get the absolute best their iPhone 5’s camera has to offer. I highly recommend teaming the Phocus 3 Lens Bundle for iPhone 5 with an app like AlmostDSLR on the Apple App Store. With these enhanced lenses, it is a very nice bonus to be able to manually set your exposure, focus, and white balance. The Phocus 3 Lens Bundle for iPhone 5 retails for $99.95 and is available now at their official website.
[easyreview title=”Phocus 3 Lens Bundle for iPhone 5 Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”4″ ] Our rating Scores Explained